Tokyo-based street photographer Junku Nishimura takes beautiful and nostalgic black & white photos using a Leica M5. Let's take a look a these snapshots and how they reflect his personality and passion for photography.
Street photography is a genre that has always been popular and most pursued by photographers from all walks of life and backgrounds. But perhaps, only a handful manage to come up with photos that stand out. Japanese street photographer Junku Nishimura, who describes himself as a “Midnight boozer with Leica M5,” has caught the attention of international viewers and enthusiasts for his gritty and nostalgic black and white photos.
In an interview with The Leica Camera Blog last year, Nishimura shared some interesting tidbits about his beginnings, shooting style, and insights as a photographer.
Nishimura began taking photos using an automatic camera that he bought around 20 years ago, intending to use it for commemorative photos. However, it was only when he bought a Leica six years ago that he began thinking about photography differently.
“In the streets and bars at night, the scenes of my daily life since before the Leica, the camera has always been beside me,” he said.
On his distinctly retro-esque snapshots, the Tokyo-based photographer says he simply adopted “black and white photography as a mode of expression established by precursors for well over 100 years.” If his photos exude a retro feel, he says it’s most likely a reflection of his personality — “reluctant to accept change and inclined to cherish dying breeds.”
When asked about his shooting style out in the streets, Nishimura says he “never develops a story and accordingly form mental pictures before taking shots,” as he believes that a photographer should follow his instincts on the spot. Also, his photos show different tones because of his habit to take photos that would “make a good slideshow to go along with the music that pops into his mind then as a background music.”
Nishimura is without a doubt among the distinguished Japanese street photographers who continue to shoot film, using Kodak Tri-X and Fuji Neopan 1600 before that. Why hasn’t he switched to digital? He gives a rather interesting answer:
“I tend to keep wearing my favorite shoes or cap until it is impossible to wear them any longer. I stay in a relationship with a woman for a long time, for that matter. For now, I am determined to vanish from the scene together with film.”
Street and documentary photographer and Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA) founder Kevin WY Lee filmed a 15-minute documentary featuring Nishimura, showing him shooting the streets of Singapore with his Leica. Watch the clip below:
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